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Steve Angello accused of ‘faking’ Dance Valley set, but there’s more to the story (updated)

There’s been a bit of buzz recently around the web regarding Steve Angello’s closing set at the  Dance Valley music festival in The Netherlands, where he was a headliner.  A video that looks to be shot from on stage has been floating around the web showing the last 13 minutes of the set, during which the Mafia man is not wearing headphones or heavily interfacing with the DJ equipment. Chatter around the video has led to critcism that the set was possibly pre-mixed, especially since the usual array of fireworks and CO2 blasts are perfectly in sync with the biggest moments and drops. Disappointed fans are implying that Angello is losing his enthusiasm for the craft which has brought him all of his success, choosing to rely on less desirable practices instead.

After word began circulating around the EDM community, Steve himself grew distraught with the allegations and took to Twitter to set the record straight. In a series of tweets, he defends his ability to mix without headphones, and proclaims that he would “would never do a pre-recorded set in [his] whole life” as it’s “against everything I stand for.” Clearly upset about the uninformed allegations, he has been on a tare addressing “the haters” and even offering a challenge to others who think they could do it better themselves. We’ve got more analysis — and the video in question — right after the break.

http://youtu.be/qAdMc_e3MpU

We’ve reviewed the clip and discussed it internally, and while some of the transitions clearly aren’t being made on the fly, we can’t help but mention the one-sidedness of this particular video. This 13 minute clip certainly doesn’t capture the entirety of the set, and the segment in question includes a large pyrotechnics display. We’re no stranger to the massive productions that SHM puts on, and it takes a lot of work to keep things in sync — just see the similar fireworks display during Thomas Gold’s remix of “Judas” that the trio closed with at EDC Vegas (Update: SHM did not close with the remix, but it was part of their grand finale closing sequence.) That being said, it’s understandable that the songs in this section of the set are premixed so as to allow the effects crew to coordinate with the big build ups and drops of the songs, as Steve has personally clarified himself. He writes:

“I just reviewed the clip everyone is talking about . so let me explain , when i do some festivals i have a team there that does all my pyro , fx and co2´s , + most of them have a synced “fireworks show” that is synced to the music so nothing goes wrong for the fireworks show since timing everything is extremely hard for them , so i have a medley mix i close with so they can have everything synced , most big festivals have that and its nothing new , as soon as your closing under a big finale you have that going on.. does that explain it ? i know some of you will still hate cause of the fact that hating if your game but i have now explained it and take it or leave it . i don’t have to prove myself that i´m able to mix i´ve done that my whole life and spend more time mixing then with my daughter so thats it . hope some of you understand , if you don’t sorry about that .. S A”

We at DA have witnessed countless DJs mix portions of sets — and even entire ones — without headphones, and it’s not a stretch to believe that Angello knows the ins and outs of his tracks so well that he could mix a set with his eyes closed.

Many DA editors have been to Angello events, and we can certainly vouch that he knows what he’s doing — and that he’s actually doing it. It’s not unheard of for larger DJs headlining massive festivals to use premixed portions that allow effects crews to keep lighting and pyrotechnics in sync. Also, cue points are set from track to track, and Angello appears to be hitting cue buttons and messing with effects at many points in the video. One astute fan on Twitter has even pointed out that one of the CDJs is flashing red — an indicator of a track coming to an end — which throws a wrench in the theory that the set was pre-recorded anyway. Even if his energy appears to falter at times, the 15-30 seconds that he does so only amounts to a tiny fraction of his entire set, and even a mega-DJ like Angello can’t fist pump for 90 minutes straight.

Closing DJs and headliners alike generally go out with a bang. Angello’s frustration comes to a boil in another Tweet that takes the defensive and again condemns “the haters.”

Can’t believe you guys are still going for it . don’t you have better things to do then make up bullshit to write about me faking a whole set when i just explained that it was the last 11 mins of my set so they could fire of the special fx and all the fireworks , stop with your bullshit and get on with your lives , if it would be up to you guys we would all be stuck in cells without electricity and banging on a floor without a big show so you would feel better for yourselves not being there , i would never fake a whole set in my entire life and those 10 mins are part of the show . if you don’t wanna see fireworks and a massive finale stop buying tickets to events where that happens and stay home instead . i hate when people make up a big story and feed on it like sugar to ants . make something better of your time instead of wasting mine !! if you would put as much time on your own careers as you do talking shit maybe a thing like this wouldn’t affect you , i know who my real fans are and you haters are not my real fans , cause if you would be you would get what i´m saying after seeing the shows we do , you probably haven’t even been to any of my shows and won’t ever come so drop it , get on with your lives ! – SA

We absolutely love the EDM community here at DA and hate seeing one of our favorite DJ’s images being tarnished by a misleading video. Even more misleading reporting by other publications makes us even more angry. In a world where Size Matters, Steve Angello is certainly one of the heavyweights in this business, and we doubt one YouTube video will change that. His original productions are still top notch, and we hope we were able to give this situation a little perspective rather than crying foul right away. Still, feel free to discuss in the comments, but remember guys: keep it classy.

Update: A notice on YouTube advises viewers that “This video contains an audio track that has not been authorized by all copyright holders. The audio has been disabled.” Um, not cool.

Jacob Schulman contributed to this report.

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